Updates given on Hwy. 65 construction projects

During the North Hwy. 65 Corridor Coalition meeting Sept. 27, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) representatives and elected officials gave updates on the highway in Anoka, Isanti and Kanabec counties.

The mission of the Coalition is to work in cooperation and collaboration with transportation and transit agencies in identifying and planning for transportation safety improvements to the North Trunk Highway 65 corridor.

Residents north of Mora who live on Hwy. 65 mailed a petition to MnDOT stating their concern with drivers speeding through the section between 270th Avenue and 280th Avenue.

The residents stated they would like signs posted to slow drivers down.

Claudia Dumont from MnDOT addressed the issue during the meeting, saying that the department sent a technician with a radar gun to do speed checks. They found that 85 percent of drivers travel that section at 60 miles per hour or more, which is above the posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

“They are speeding, but lowering the speed limit is not the answer, because if people are already traveling faster than the posted speed, they’re not going to slow down even if the signs tell them to go slower,” Dumont said.

Instead, she said they can request State Patrol to step up enforcement in that area “to start picking off some of these people who are speeding and sending a message.”

A speed trailer could also be placed out there that shows people the speed at which they’re traveling, Dumont explained.

“I think a lot of times people don’t realize how fast they’re going,” she said.

Hwy. 65 Construction Updates

A future goal of the Coalition is expanding Hwy. 65 between Cambridge and State Highway 107 in Braham from two to four lanes, as well as reconstructing the Hwy. 65 and State Highway 107 intersection.

Next summer, Dumont said MnDOT will replace the sidewalk, curb and gutter in the Grandy area.

The unbonded concrete overlay from the Anoka-Isanti county line to 217th Avenue NE in East Bethel is nearly complete, said MnDOT’s Paul Jung.

In Anoka County at 221st Avenue NE in East Bethel, construction is underway to install a traffic signal and add turn lanes on 221st Avenue. Work on the road itself is expected to be complete around Nov. 1, Jung said.

It may be another month after that before the signal is operational. Traffic signal poles and mast arms are on order from the supplier and are scheduled to arrive mid-November at the earliest, he explained.

The project to construct a J-turn intersection at Hwy. 65 and 169th Avenue NE in Ham Lake is complete and has been open to traffic since August.

Jung said MnDOT traffic engineering staff recently visited the intersection and found it to be functioning well. The department hasn’t received any complaints, but they’ll continue to monitor the intersection.

Further south in Anoka County at Bunker Lake Boulevard in Ham Lake, construction is underway to improve the intersection by adding a second left turn lane from northbound Hwy. 65, lengthening the left turn lane from southbound Hwy. 65, improving Bunker Lake Boulevard immediately west of Hwy. 65 and adding a flashing yellow arrow for Bunker Lake Boulevard left turns into Hwy. 65.

Pavement work is expected to be complete around Nov. 1, Jung said. The signal pole for the new northbound to westbound dual left turns is expected to arrive in December.